My third encounter with a gang was walking home from my community art class in Kingsford, which is a nice neighborhood in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. It was dark, but only about 6 PM and I only had to walk two short blocks so I wasn't that worried about my safety.
As I got to my street this group of teens surrounded me. There were about eight of them. They looked about 16- they looked like nice kids- they certainly didn't have an attidtude or anything. I think I even recognized a few as living on my block. I wasn't concerned.
The leader asked me if I'd seen Forest Gump. That movie had come out the month before so I knew what the story line was, but I hadn't watched it myself. I told him this, puzzled as to why he'd ask. Then he quoted “Life is a box of chocolates- you never know what you're going to get”.
The others laughed menacingly at this. The leader was still being friendly, so I played innocent and asked him if he liked it. He said it was all right. I asked him more questions about the movie, trying to distract him from whatever it was that he was planning to do. He answered them and then explained that the quote meant that you never know when something bad might happen to you. I did get that. I remembered the park nearby and hoped I didn't I end up there with them.
He was still friendly and joking, so I tried to be the same. I mentioned how I lived around there and had kids his age. Actually my kids were 10 and 7 but he didn't know that. One of the others asked if I'd like some more. This was meant to scare me. I said no way, two were all I could handle. After all, I WAS getting old, heck, I was old enough to be a grandmother! Now this was true if you assumed that a grandmother could be as young as 34. I was older than that, but not by much.
One of the group said that I looked pretty hot. I didn't think so. I was wearing an old jacket over raggedy jeans that were spattered with paint. No way could anyone have thought I looked sexy in that. However I am tall and I do have long blonde hair and I've always looked young for my age so I knew why he might think so. I figured I'd play the age card again so I said “ Yeah, but really, what would the kids at school say if you did it with a grandmother? They'd all laugh at you.”
This made them think. I then became all motherly towards the leader, asking him what school he went to and asked if he liked it. He responded by telling me a bit about himself. Then I told him I had to make dinner for my kids now, and he let me go.
Personally I don't think the group had ever done anything bad before- I think maybe they were just thinking of trying something new. Hopefully they never did! I never saw anything in the local paper about it anyway. I count this as a lucky escape.
Part 1 High School Gang
Part 2 New York Gang
Part 4 The Convict Work Gang